Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Imagination vs. Antiseptic Standard Descriptions
In my previous post about Vancian magic someone commented that "Part of my like for it stems from the weird names of the old spells ("Otto's Irresistable Dance," etc.)" I also enjoyed Gary's creative and odd naming of things. Rather than bemoan the passing of that creativity, we should rather be spurred on to continue in that tradition. You have undoubtedly read before that instead of just saying, "I attack", you could say, "I draw back and give a tremendous overhead chop with my bloody falchion attempting to cut the foul creature in two!" No news here, that is fairly standard advice. So why are we limited to the antiseptic spell names and descriptions? I say that you are only limited by your imagination and the effort you spend. You could cast color spray. Instead you could weave arcane symbols in the air and speak the difficult words of power and release Marigus Coruscating Assault. At the completion of casting a myriad of sparkles of red, green and blue light spray forth from the casters eyes and growing quickly in size to become recognizable as twirling knives, axes and scythes which fill the area of the cone as a brief assault against all in the area. You could cast Cause Fear. Instead the wizard casts Fear the Mage. The target of the spell suddenly has a flash of understanding of the dark power of the mage who cast the spell. You could cast Burning Hands. Instead the wizard casts Icy Breath (like burning hands but cold). At the completion of casting the mage blows forth an icy breath in a cone. Lastly, there is no reason the DM has the sole responsibility for creative descriptions in the game. I challenge the players to stand up and be counted. If you miss 'old school' D&D for the descriptions, then I say there is nothing to miss. Let the spirit of Gary flow regardless of what version of the game you play.